I've made this point before, but I recently made it again on a WNYC (New York City's National Public Radio station) podcast called "On the Divided Dial." (It was repackaged and rereleased last week). I appreciate journalist Katie Thornton willingness to put my James Dobson and Christian radio story in her reporting. Listen below. I come in around the 29 minute mark. Not everything I said in the interview made it into the final production. I told Katie Thornton that as … [Read more...] about My father didn’t need James Dobson to teach him how to be a patriarch. Focus on the Family had a different influence on him.
The Author’s Corner with Victoria E. Ott
Victoria E. Ott is James A. Wood Professor of American History and the coordinator of Gender and Women's Studies at Birmingham-Southern College. This interview is based on her new book, The Failure of Our Fathers: Family, Gender, and Power in Confederate Alabama (University of Alabama Press, 2023). JF: What led you to write The Failure of Our Fathers? VO: I sort of fell into this project. I initially started researching court records in early nineteenth-century Alabama … [Read more...] about The Author’s Corner with Victoria E. Ott
What a Charles Willson Peale painting can teach us about vaccinating our children
Central Michigan University historian Andrew Wehrman has been an indispensable guide in this age of COVID-19. Here is a taste of his recent piece at Age of Revolutions blog: For portrait painters like Charles Willson Peale, ignoring smallpox was part of the job. His patrons expected him to touch up their likenesses and make it seem as if they had never been affected by the scourge. None of the seventy portraits that Peale painted of George Washington, for example, showed … [Read more...] about What a Charles Willson Peale painting can teach us about vaccinating our children
The Author’s Corner with Martha Saxton
Martha Saxton is Professor of History and Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies and Elizabeth W. Bruss Reader, Emerita at Amherst College. This interview is based on her new book The Widow Washington: The Life of Mary Washington (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019). JF: What led you to write The Widow Washington? MS: I wrote the Widow Washington because I discovered in researching my last book that Mary Washington and her son George had conflict over money and property like … [Read more...] about The Author’s Corner with Martha Saxton
Searching for Roots in San Felice-Circeo
Last week I visited, for the first time, the place where my paternal grandfather was born. San Felice-Circeo is an Italian village (comune) on the Mediterranean (Tyrrhenian) Sea about 100 km south of Rome. In the 1930s Mussolini claimed large portions of the San Felice-Circeo shoreline and created a massive national park, the largest in Italy. The centro storica (historic center) dates back to the Roman era and during the Middle Ages the Templars were in possession of the … [Read more...] about Searching for Roots in San Felice-Circeo
When You Find Your Grandfather’s Journals and They Are Amazing
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-BhzcS2UNw&w=560&h=315] Context … [Read more...] about When You Find Your Grandfather’s Journals and They Are Amazing
When Did Evangelicals Start Talking About Family Values?
Over at The Anxious Bench, David Swartz of Asbury University argues that "family values" is a relatively knew idea in American evangelicalism. Here is a taste: “Turning hearts toward home”—a phrase Dr. James Dobson has repeated so often over the last four decades that it sounds like scripture. It’s hard to believe now, but his unrelenting focus on the family would have been viewed as heretical by evangelicals a century and a half ago. Indeed, revivalistic religion in the … [Read more...] about When Did Evangelicals Start Talking About Family Values?
The Author’s Corner with Harry Stout
Harry Stout is the Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University. This interview is based on his new book, American Aristocrats: A Family, a Fortune, and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, 2017). JF: What led you to write American Aristocrats? HS: In 2012 I was awarded a year-long fellowship to the Huntington Library. I was free to pursue any subject that I wanted that was included in their archives. On my first day there I … [Read more...] about The Author’s Corner with Harry Stout
“The most scrutinized father-son relationship in American history?”
The folks at Salon are playing fast and loose with their headlines these days. Joshua David Stein's piece on Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. is titled "The most scrutinized father-son relationship in American history." So I ask my historian friends, is this true? How does Trump-Trump Jr. relationship compare with: John Adams and John Quincy Adams? George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush? Ben Franklin and William Franklin? Abraham Lincoln and Tad Lincoln? Don Corleone … [Read more...] about “The most scrutinized father-son relationship in American history?”
George Scialabba on Christopher Lasch and the Family
Cultural critic George Scialabba revisits Christopher Lasch's 1977 book Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged and tries to rescue Lasch's argument from the feminists who bashed the book when it first appeared.Sciaballa writes at The Baffler:It was not feminism but mass production, political centralization, and the ideology of endless growth and ever-increasing consumption that had placed impossible strains on the family and made psychological maturity so difficult, … [Read more...] about George Scialabba on Christopher Lasch and the Family
The Author's Corner with Honor Sachs
Honor Sachs is Assistant Professor of History at Western Carolina University. This interview is based on her new book, Home Rule: Households, Manhood, and National Expansion on the Eighteenth-Century Kentucky Frontier (Yale University Press, 2015). JF: What led you to write Home Rule? HS: I went to grad school planning to study women and migration into the Deep South during the nineteenth century. But when I got to Wisconsin, everybody was talking about The Middle Ground and … [Read more...] about The Author's Corner with Honor Sachs
The Author’s Corner with Lisa Wilson
Lisa Wilson is Professor of History at Connecticut College. This interview is based on her new book, A History of Stepfamilies in Early America (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).JF: What led you to write A History of Stepfamilies in Early America?:LW: Researching my previous book [Ye Heart of a Man: the Domestic Life of Men in Colonial New England (Yale, 1999)]. I kept running across stepfamilies in the sources I was using. I realized after some sleuthing that only … [Read more...] about The Author’s Corner with Lisa Wilson
Virtual Office Hours: Fall 2014 – Episode 7
Thoughts on Christine Heyrman's Southern CrossPart II[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEPUmZlguMs] … [Read more...] about Virtual Office Hours: Fall 2014 – Episode 7
The Author’s Corner with Lorri Glover
Lorri Glover is the John Francis Bannon, S.J. Professor of History at St. Louis University. This interview is based on her forthcoming book Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries (Yale University Press, 2014). JF: What led you to write Founders as Fathers? LG: Many years ago, before the start of a session in my class on the American Revolution, two students were commiserating about their fathers’ high academic expectations. … [Read more...] about The Author’s Corner with Lorri Glover
The Roots of “Christian Mingle”
Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony, with his wife MarylynI know several people who have used matchmaking services like Christian Mingle to find companionship and even spouses. And now, thanks to Paul Putz, I know that Christian matchmaking services have a long history. Here is a taste of his short essay on the subject at Religion & Politics:THE HISTORY OF MATCHMAKING as a mass-marketed commercial enterprise stretches at least as far back as the late nineteenth … [Read more...] about The Roots of “Christian Mingle”
Are You Doing Research on John and Abigail Adams?
J.L. Bell at Boston 1775 just brought my attention to a conference called "Abigail and John: 250 Years Together" The conference will take place on October 25 to mark the 250th wedding anniversary of this revolutionary-era couple. Here is the call for papers:The conference organizers have issued a invitation to scholars to propose individual papers or complete panels. Those can cover “all aspects of the life and union of these two extraordinary individuals and their world,” … [Read more...] about Are You Doing Research on John and Abigail Adams?
Using the Classroom to Connect Children’s History, Local History, and Digital History
Lisa Harmon, a Senior Research AssociateatTeachinghistory.org, offers history teachers some creative ways of linking the history of children's lives with local history and digital storytelling. Here is a taste:...Textbooks also omit local history. Where did children play, learn, and work in the past in your area? How might you and your students connect with that past? Teachinghistory.org's Daisy Martin suggests trying local museums, historic sites, and libraries. High … [Read more...] about Using the Classroom to Connect Children’s History, Local History, and Digital History
Quote of the Day
From Christopher Shannon's review of Robert Self, All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s.I suppose I should come clean on my own family values. I suppose I would call myself a traditionalist with a great sympathy for the vision of family life presented in the work of Wendell Berry. There can be no real family apart from a family economy, and so much of the ink spilled on “the crisis of the family” since the nineteenth century has been a … [Read more...] about Quote of the Day
Help Me to Find My People
This is the title of Heather Andrea Williams's book on the emotional toll that slavery had on African-American families and the attempts made many of them to reunite after long periods of separation at the hands of slave masters. Here is a taste of an interview with Williams at NPR:Sometimes when people did find each other, you have these really awful situations. ... I talk about a woman who had to make up her mind which husband she would be with. And she decided to be with … [Read more...] about Help Me to Find My People